Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Outdoor adventure

Today was a special day for the flock. It was their first day outside!!!

Last night we set up their luxurious outdoor palace (the cute coop I mentioned a few months ago coop photo). We put out a new feeder and a new big water dish in their run. We poured out an area of grit for the hens and created a pile of sand for dust baths (chicken spa in a bag!). This morning we took the old smaller food and water dishes out of the brooder box. We removed the bricks that were acting as stands for those dishes. We apologized to the hens as we lifted the chickens' home to carried it down the stairs and into the wild unknown lands of the big and scary backyard. The gals were all chirping and moving around the brooder box frantically as we made the journey. Their chirps were understandable since their home was literally being lifted and moved around through the house. We set the box down on the ground and moved the chickens one by one into their new home. We placed them into the hen house so they could see that cozy location and we hoped they would also check out their new roost.

A close up of Tara eating at their new food dish with Willow getting in a few bites of food herself in the background.

Of course, the very first thing every chicken did upon being put into the hen house was take a slide down the ramp into the run (the outdoor area that touches the ground). They ran straight to their new food and water dishes and never looked back. We have such hungry and thirsty gals! At four weeks old they are still growing and they eat as much as they can gulp.

The chickens checking out their new spa treatment (an area of sand for dust baths). Henrietta and Merrill are hanging out in the dust. Tara is in the foreground and Willow's tail feathers are visible on the left of the picture.

This morning they were still having trouble using the ramp. They would go up two steps and slide back down. That afternoon when I got home from work Willow and Tara were standing 3/4 of the way up the ramp just relaxing. Unfortunately, I have yet to see any of them in the hen house. I have seen then take shelter under the ramp, which is not exactly the same comfort level as a warm protected hen house.  If they do not go into the house by dusk we will move them into there ourselves and close the little hatch door behind them. Hopefully they will go in of their own choosing since we don't stress them out too much by forcing them into the hen house. Silly chickens, don't you know what is good for you!
Willow and Tara standing toward the top of the ramp leading into the hen house.


  1. That is an unbelievable amount of growth for the little fuzzballs. When are they set to start laying?

  2. @Tiffany They start laying at 20-22 weeks old so expect our first eggs mid Septmeber - early October.